THE FRANCO YEARS by Jose Yglesias
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Jose Yglesias draws no conclusions about Spain's 40-year captivity, and his personal histories seem to tell themselves; but together they compose a group portrait, Velasquez' ""Las Meninas"" in russets and grays. ""Who would have thought that there would be a happy ending?"" So Remedios, in her new Madrid apartment, bought with her savings as servant and seamstress in America. Her first break with custom was to help at the local Socialist headquarters during the Civil War. Some, like Asturian Communist miner Arcadio, never stopped fighting. ""He believes he inherited his consciencia. . . from his father. His awakening came from the guerrillas and his determination from the Party."" Leftists of various affiliations and levels of activity are represented, from rebel son-of-the-rich Alejandro Rojas-Marcos, suspect on that score, to politically articulate waiter-cum-mechanic Alfredo who--most remarkably--""had freed himself from macho conventions."" The price these conventions exact from women emerges in the stories of two prevented from legalizing their long-term ""marriages,"" and each in her way reviles the system. In socially regressive Spain, opposition unites the classes too--notably in nationalist Catalonia and Galicia. Yglesias pays homage to the progressive Catalonian bourgeoisie--professional fathers and cloistered mothers standing by their activist sons--and the intellectual-peasant bong in destitute Galicia, scene of The Goodbye Land (1966). Once again, with muted passion, he frames facts in the contours of fiction.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1977
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill